“Evangeline’s Heaven” is a unique reimagining of the fall of Lucifer, and what that fall looked like from the eyes of his daughter. Raised almost completely by her Lucifer, Evangeline is completely devoted to her father and is his loyal little soldier. When a decree comes that states that all Commoner angels—like Lucifer and Evangeline—are being banished to Earth to tend to God’s new fledgling creation, the humans, Lucifer and the other Commoner’s push back against the regal class of angels, the Dominion. The Dominion have always treated Evangeline’s people with extreme prejudice, especially Evangeline, who is half of both thanks to her mother. But while Evangeline’s cause may be good, her father’s true intentions are clouded in secrecy—a shroud that Evangeline does not want lifted until she has no choice but to see Lucifer for who he truly is, and then she will have to deal with the consequences.
This reimagining is definitely on the younger side of YA, despite the character’s ages. The writing style is a close present tense 3rd POV which, admittedly, is not my favorite, but I think suits the subject matter of this novel. And, speaking of the subject matter: if you are not a fan or just simply not interested in stories centered on Christian creation myths, this may not be to your liking or understanding, but that being said, I thought the creativity the author approached the source material with was very well thought out. The hierarchy of angels, the different classes within those angels, and how the various Heavens—or realms really—are laid out was all very well done and, even though there are a lot of names, I never once felt lost or confused about who was who or what was going on. Even if I did wonder how the Dominion angels could tell the difference between themselves, the Archangels, and the Commoners, because no real physical difference or anything like that is ever brought up by the MC.
I think that was my only real issue with this story. You don’t get a ton of description about the characters or the differences between Commoners and the more “elite” angels, you only see the abuse through what happens to Evangeline at their hands during her school days, and never anything more wide spread that would help solidify Lucifer’s justification for the initial rebellion. The first half of the book can be a bit slow at times as well, full of a lot of flashbacks in between character dialogue instead of actual movement or dialogue from the characters themselves, which definitely would have helped with pacing, and maybe given the light romance elements more legs to stand on. Most the flashbacks center on the bullying Evangeline faces, but it would have been nice to see it unfold in real time rather than breaking up the flow of present dialogue and situations. I do understand this is a very short read, but I think a little more of those touches could have really helped the characters.
The second half of the book is where the story really finds its stride, with Evangeline firmly on the path to self-discovery and actively moving toward a goal of her own choosing, rather than one plotted out for her by her manipulative father. Her adventure with her crush in order to keep the various heavens from all being destroyed is full of great action scenes, and I love it when an author isn’t afraid to put her main characters in physical and emotional peril. And while I think the story ended a little abruptly, I did really enjoy the twist toward the end. I just wish the first half was as exciting, which is why this gets a very solid 3.5 stars from me. All in all, this was a very creative debut novel, and bonus points for it being a standalone, too! And thanks to the author and Literary Bound Tours for a copy of the book for an honest review.
Click the book images to see them on Amazon!